Carol Donovan and Rodney Anderson, the chairs of Dallas County Democratic and Republican parties respectively, issued a joint statement on this beautiful Monday afternoon in an effort to assuage high tension just before Election Day. While some businesses in downtown Dallas are hanging plywood over windows and Trump caravans ride the highways, the two party heads reminded everyone that our country has held successful elections in both good and challenging times, and this election will be no different.
“We write in the spirit of bipartisanship to encourage all of us — the public, government officials, the media, political parties, and candidates — to take a deep breath and stay patient and calm while election officials count all votes, in accordance with the applicable laws,” the release states.
Despite a bit of purported turmoil, Anderson and Donovan point out that our county elections officials are working around the clock to count an unprecedented number of ballots during a pandemic. Allowing them time to make certain that every legally cast vote is counted is essential.
“Remember: a complete and accurate ballot count is more important than a fast ballot count,” the statement read.
The statement points out that Texas law allows for mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day to still count (so long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.). In past elections, Dallas County processed about a thousand mail-in ballots a day during early voting. So far the number of mail-ballots being counted is in line with that number as well as other projections. Further, late last week Dallas County postal management issued a statement to the Observer saying they were not experiencing any delays in processing mail and they continue to give priority to election mail.
As for counting ballots after Election Day, the statement said:
“Most ballots have to be in by the day after Election Day (November 4) but some, like those from overseas military personnel, can arrive even later. Texas law also gives officials time after Election Day to fully canvass all the ballots — including these later-arriving ballots and provisional ballots — and then certify the results. These timelines have been set by the Texas Legislature and have been the law in Texas for years. When ballots are being counted after November 3, it means our election officials are following the law.”
The party chairs agree that given all the circumstances, including record turnout and coronavirus safety measures, counting every vote will likely take more time than usual this year, “We may not know the winner of the presidential election, and possibly many down-ballot races, on November 3, and, perhaps for a while after that. We encourage everyone to be patient (...).”
The statement continues that with respect for the process, no matter how long it may take, it “means democracy is working.”
Anderson and Donovan close by encouraging us to look for the common bonds among neighbors, despite our difference.
Dallas County polls open at 7 a.m. tomorrow, Nov. 3, and will close at 7 p.m. There are more than 450 polling places. Registered voters of Dallas County can vote at any polling location. If you voted by mail-in ballot, track that ballot here. If you don't see it, go vote in-person. One or the other will be canceled; no one can vote twice.
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